China will stop recognising British National (Overseas) passports from Sunday

  • The announcement was made hours after the British government gave details of the visa application process
  • The move is seen as retaliation against Britain’s pathway to citizenship, offered following passage of the national security law
South China Morning Post |

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The British National (Overseas) passport. Photo: SCMP/ Fung Chang

Beijing has said it will stop recognising British National (Overseas) passports as travel and identification documents from Sunday.

The action is in retaliation against Britain’s offer of a pathway to citizenship to 5.4 million eligible Hongkongers.

The announcement was made by Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian at a daily press briefing.

What is Britain offering BN(O) passport holders?

The move came hours after British authorities announced details of the application process for the new BN(O) visas. Applications will open on Sunday 5pm.

“Britain has ignored the fact that Hong Kong has already been returned to China for 24 years,” Zhao said. He accused London of ignoring Beijing’s “stern stance” against the new BN(O) policy, adding it would turn Hongkongers into “second-class citizens”.

Zhao said the BN(O) scheme was no longer one that had been agreed upon by both sides.

What happened in Hong Kong in 2020?

“[The new visa] is a serious violation of China’s sovereignty and a violent intervention of Hong Kong’s affairs and China’s internal affairs. It is a serious violation of the international laws and the basic principles of international relations,” he said.

China was firmly against the new visa, Zhao added.